I took a ride toward the northeastern part of Louisiana this past Tuesday. Haven’t been “home” for a while now.
I remember, and really can’t count the times, before he passed, that my dad said, “When ya gonna be able to come home, son?” To which I probably replied more often than not, “Dad, I am home.”
Well, to him, home was where he raised me and my brother…where he collected and treasured his family until, one by one, we left the nest.
I like the windshield time. Always have. The seven hours or so don’t really bother me. It’s filled with familiar sites and landmarks – and trees that are marking the years with their growth; growth unimpeded by the economic climate or which political party holds sway over the nation.
I usually get to my hometown around 4 PM. In time to take mom somewhere to dinner. Even though the choices are a little limited, the location or the fare isn’t really the issue, it’s the company and the talk.
After spending the night at my brother’s house, I took mom to breakfast, had more than a few laughs and then took care of some business for her. Usually, I take off for Houston later on the second day, but this time, I just hung around for a few more hours. “Urgent” takes on a different meaning when you’re aware of age and how quickly things can change without warning.
My dear friend here in Houston had made plans to fly to NYC on Thanksgiving Day with his wife and youngest daughter. His oldest lives in Manhattan and they were going to spend the holiday in the city together. On Monday before Thanksgiving, my friend’s father had a heart attack and on Wednesday, quadruple bypass surgery. The dad is 84. Obviously, all the plans changed. You just never know.
Without being morbid, I have the gentle reminder that our days are numbered. All of us. But as my mom goes on into her mid-eighties, I’m trying to be careful to not allow life’s trivia to distract me from important things. And not just what’s important to me – what’s important to her!
I have great respect for my mom . . . for her strength, for her faith and her unwavering devotion to those she loves.
The picture of her here was taken at my brother’s house on Thanksgiving and I have to say, the look on her face is just remarkable after all she’s been through. She looks like she’s about to jump out of an airplane or something. It makes me smile just to see her so happy.